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If you are going through a complicated or untenable situation as a couple, you may have asked yourself what happens if you divorce before the Green Card interview. You should know that getting divorced before obtaining the Green Card could have serious immigration consequences.

According to the American Psychological Association (APA), approximately 50% of couples in the U. S. divorce. 

This is alarming, but what else happens when I divorce an American citizen? Can I really lose my lawful permanent residence if I get divorced? In this blog we will answer these and more questions related to the topic. 


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What Happens If You Divorce Before And After The Green Card Interview In 2024

If you divorce before obtaining lawful permanent residence, you may face various consequences, such as:

  • Losing your legal status: When you get divorced, you will lose your American visa.
  • Being deported: Generally, if you lose your k-1 fiancé(e) visa or legal status, you could face removal proceedings from the United States.
  • Having difficulties applying for a visa: This act could lead to the inability to apply for a visa in the future.

If the divorce occurs after you obtain lawful permanent residence, you should have no problems. However, the process to become an American citizen would be affected, since you would have to wait 5 years instead of 3.

So, if I separate, do I lose my residency? It is possible, so it is advisable to consult with our immigration lawyers in Los Angeles.

Possible Consequences Of Divorcing Before Obtaining Lawful Permanent Residence

What happens if I divorce before Green Card interview? Well, the consequences depend on the moment in which you do it:

  • Before receiving the Green Card: If the individuals apply for the Green Card but get divorced before obtaining it, their immigration process stops. Additionally, they lose eligibility to apply again and could face deportation.
  • After receiving the conditional Green Card: This may have legal and immigration consequences, but the risk of deportation is lower than in the previous case.
  • After Green Card conditions are removed: Even after Green Card conditions are removed, there may be implications on your immigration status.

Knowing this, in some cases, a Green Card can be revoked in the event of a divorce. However, everything will depend on where you are in the process. 

Exceptions For These Consequences

There are certain exceptions that could allow the immigrant spouse to appeal their immigration case and maintain the residency process:

  • The marriage was genuine, but ended due to circumstances beyond the immigrant spouse’s control.
  • Demonstrate that deportation to the country of origin would cause extreme hardship.
  • The immigrant spouse was a victim of physical or psychological abuse by the American citizen spouse.
VAWA visa

If you have been a victim of violence in the U. S, you may be eligible for the VAWA visa or U visa. Our renowned lawyers at Lluis Law will be able to defend you after suffering aggression or violence. Call us and we will examine your situation.

What Happens If I Divorce During The Permanent Residency Process? 

If you get divorced during the process of applying for a Green Card based on marriage, the process will stop. This applies even if your spouse is being sponsored by an employer in the U. S. 

It should be noted that USCIS closely monitors immigration fraud. Therefore, hiding a divorce or a sham marriage could be considered fraud.

What Happens If I Get Divorced And I Already Have The Green Card?

If you get divorced and have a Green Card, it generally would not affect renewal. However, when doing so, file Form I-90. If you changed your name legally, update it with the appropriate record.

What Will Happen To Me If I Was Fixing My Residence And I Got Divorced?

Your application will probably be cancelled. Additionally, you will not be able to continue with the residency process and could be subject to removal proceedings.

However, do not despair, there are other immigration reliefs for which you may be eligible, such as:

Continue reading with us, we will address more information on what happens if you divorce before your Green Card interview.

Can I Go To The Interview Without My Spouse?

United States immigration law does not require the presence of the American spouse at a consular visa interview. 

In fact, in most cases, the American spouse applying for the visa does not need to attend this interview. 

This is because the American spouse has already demonstrated the legal validity of the marital relationship by obtaining approval of the I-130 petition.

What Happens If My Spouse Doesn’t Show Up For The Green Card Interview?

Although the presence of the spouse is not required at the consular interview, their participation is essential to obtain the Green Card.

In fact, even if your absence is excused, immigration officials may interpret this as a lack of cooperation on the part of the American. 

divorce and green card

Such an interpretation could lead to the cancellation of the process if sufficient evidence of the validity of the marriage is not provided. Additionally, it may result in marriage-based Green Card interview questions and possibly denial of the application. 

Note: It is important to explain the absence and try to reschedule the interview if necessary. If your spouse is uncooperative, consider other options and consult with an immigration attorney. 

Am I Separated From My Spouse At The Green Card Interview?

Frequently, a USCIS officer conducts both joint and individual interviews for couples in the United States. Occasionally, however, they choose to interview spouses separately. 

When this occurs, it is called a “Stokes interview” or second marriage interview. During this process, the spouses’ responses are carefully compared for possible inconsistencies. 

Can I Still Adjust Status If I Divorce Before The Stokes Interview?

If a divorce occurs before the stokes interview, you may be able to adjust your status. This is because the requirements are based on the authenticity of the marriage.

Note: Being legally separated or divorced does not necessarily mean that it was a sham marriage from the beginning. 

However, immigration authorities often consider divorce a red flag. Therefore, it is natural that your request to remove the conditions will lead to a more in-depth analysis.

How To Prepare For My Green Card Interview After Divorce?

Here are some tips:

  • Gather all documents proving the authenticity of the marriage and request an extension if necessary. 
  • Be honest when answering and avoid trying to play games with immigration officials. 
  • Provide evidence of a normal relationship with your spouse before the divorce. For example, messages, joint bank accounts, and so on. 
  • Apply before your current visa expires. 

For virtual interviews, make sure you understand the technology and meet the established requirements. Additionally, please review the supplemental terms and consult with our attorneys if necessary.

How Does Divorce Affect My Conditional Permanent Residence Based On Marriage?

can they take away my residency if i divorce

If you have obtained your Green Card through marriage and have been married for less than 2 years, your status will be conditional. That is, your Green Card will be valid for 2 years instead of the usual 10.

Once that time has passed, you must submit proof of marriage to USCIS. This will be to request the removal of the conditions and obtain a Green Card valid for 10 years. 

However, if you divorce during this period of conditional residence by marriage, it is likely that your immigration process will be affected. 

Note: The conditional residency by marriage clause on your Green Card states that the couple must file a joint petition. Therefore, in the event of separation or annulment of the marriage, you will not be able to continue with this process.

Actions You Can Take To Avoid Consequences 

Some actions you can take to avoid possible consequences are:

  • File Form I-751 with USCIS to request removal of conditional residency based on marriage.
  • Request a waiver of the joint filing requirement.
  • Show that the marriage was in good faith. This last step requires the presentation of marital evidence to immigration. Therefore, it can be challenging if the divorce occurs before the conditional status is removed.

Note: If you file the I-751 jointly after the divorce, you must do so within 90 days prior to the expiration of conditional residency.

What Happens After You Request A Joint Filing Exemption?

After submitting your waiver, you will receive a Form I-797 from USCIS, confirming receipt. This will allow you to retain your resident status while you wait for final approval to remove the conditions from your Green Card.

Can Divorce Affect The Immigration Rights Of Other Family Members?

The end of the marriage may have repercussions on the immigration status of other family members who are linked to the same immigration process.

For example, if an American citizen applies for a Green Card for their foreign spouse and children, the divorce could affect the children’s residency application. 

This is because children depend on the immigration status of the immigrant spouse. As a result, if you lose that status, your children will also lose it.

types of american visas

Additionally, divorce may influence applications for some type of American visa for other relatives sponsored by the immigrant. Immigration officials may question the authenticity of the immigration marriage evidence provided.

Can I Get Divorced After Getting A 10-Year Green Card?

Generally, if you get divorced after getting a 10-year Green Card, USCIS won’t care much. This is because it will be your permanent Green Card.

A topic of interest for those who wonder what happens if you divorce before Green Card interview and do not yet have the papers, is whether if an illegal immigrant can fly within the U. S. 

What Is The Conditional Green Card?

A conditional Green Card is a Green Card valid for only 2 years. This is granted to immigrants married to Americans to ensure the authenticity of the marriage. 

Can I Get Divorced After The Conditional Temporary Residence Status Is Removed? 

Generally, once a 10-year Green Card has been obtained, lawful permanent resident status is not affected by divorce. That said, after conditionality is removed, residency is permanent and no longer depends on marriage. 

Of course, it is key to consider that divorce can have implications in other areas. For example, although divorce does not impact the foreigner’s immigration status. USCIS might suspect that the marriage was not genuine.

If this occurs, an investigation could be initiated to determine if there was fraud in the immigration process.

Illegal reentry after deportation

You already know a lot on what happens if you divorce before Green Card interview but are you aware of the consequences of illegal reentry after deportation? In our blog we delve into the topic in detail.

How To Remove The Conditional Green Card After Divorce?

Generally, to remove conditions from your lawful permanent resident status, you must file Form I-751 with USCIS. 

However, you should consult with our immigration attorneys to discuss the facts surrounding your case. 

What Happens To My American Citizenship If I Get Divorced?

There are several scenarios that could affect your eligibility to become a U. S. citizen if you get divorced. 

This is because when national foreigners apply for U. S. citizenship, USCIS will review their immigration history. So, they might consider the divorce suspicious. 

Additional Evidence Requirements

USCIS may require additional proof of the immigration marriage and documentation proving its authenticity, such as:

  • Documentation confirming that you lived with your American spouse.
  • Paternity tests (if applicable).
  • Proof of shared financial accounts.
  • Affidavits from friends and family.
  • Photographs from trips or shared events.
  • Proof of co-ownership of property.
  • Documentation related to mortgages, loans or leases.

How Can I Prove That My Marriage Is Genuine Before Applying For American Citizenship?

It is usually possible to prove that your marriage is in good faith by providing evidence such as:

  • Marriage tests.
  • Evidence of shared ownership.
  • Photographs that reflect the couple’s relationship.
  • Testimonies from friends or relatives confirming the authenticity of the marriage.

How Does A Divorce Affect The Naturalization Process?

Usually, individuals with a Green Card through marriage can naturalize after 3 years. However, if you divorce before completing the naturalization process, then the waiting period will be 5 years.

To avoid this, it is necessary to prove that you live with your spouse when filing Form N-400. Additionally, you must remain married until you obtain citizenship, which can take time. 

In any case, if you divorce before approval, you can withdraw the application and resubmit after 5 years.

Note: After 5 years, divorce should not affect your eligibility for citizenship. Therefore, you cannot lose your citizenship if you divorce because eligibility will no longer depend on marriage.

What Happens To Property Or Custody Of My Children If I Divorce And Do Not Yet Have U. S. Citizenship?

The right to property and custody of children cannot be affected during a divorce process.

That said, the status of the immigrant spouse does not influence court decisions in child custody cases.

The court decides on child custody based on the principle of the best interests of the children, without taking into account the immigration status of the parent.

Additionally, the immigration status of the spouse is not a factor in the division of marital property. Therefore, this will be divided according to the laws of each state.

What Can I Do If I Believe My Husband Married Me For A Green Card?

If you suspect that your marriage was used to obtain a Green Card, you can inform USCIS or ICE to begin an investigation. 

If evidence of fraud is found, the individual may face removal proceedings and fraud charges, which may prevent future immigration applications.

You could remove your husband or wife’s residence if it is proven that their intention was only to obtain an immigration benefit.

If you are facing deportation proceedings, our attorneys are specialists in deportations. Call us and we will guide you on this.

Does Divorce Mean Automatic Deportation?

If you divorced after a bona fide marriage, you may be concerned about possible deportation. 

However, an immigration attorney can present immigration defenses and relief to prevent deportation and seek permanent residency. For example, cancellation of removal.

Frequently Asked Questions on what happens if there is a divorce before the Green Card interview

what happens if i divorce after permanent residence in the united states

What Happens If My American Spouse Dies Before I Obtain Lawful Permanent Residency?

If your spouse dies before you are granted lawful permanent residence, there is a special exemption. This is known as the “estate tax exemption.” 

To apply for it, it is necessary to demonstrate that the marriage was genuine and was not carried out for the sole purpose of obtaining residency. In addition, proof of relationship and the death of the spouse will be required to be presented.

How Long Do I Have To Be Married To Fix Papers?

To apply for lawful permanent residence through marriage, you must have been married for at least 2 years. If your marriage is less than two years old, you can obtain a conditional residence by marriage, which is valid for 2 years. 

Subsequently, an application must be submitted to eliminate this condition and obtain lawful permanent residence.

Arranging the paperwork can be a complex situation in some cases, especially if you enter with a tourist visa for the United States. Check our article “Change of status from visitor visa to Green Card” where we cover this topic in depth. 

What Happens If I Get Married In Another Country?

If the marriage was legally contracted in another country, additional documentation may be required. This will be to support its authenticity. 

Additionally, official translations of marriage certificates, affidavits and any other relevant evidence are required.

What Is The Difference Between Divorce And Separation? 

A divorce is when a court legally dissolves a marriage. On the other hand, a separation usually allows the couple to remain married but live apart. 

Divorce laws vary between states. Likewise, both USCIS and the Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) consider only the interpretation of state law. 

This will be to determine whether a separation or divorce legally ended the marriage, regardless of the couple’s intentions.

What Happens If I Get Divorced While The I-485 Petition Is Pending?

If you have filed Form I-485 but did not attend the interview at the time the marriage ended, the application may be denied.

Do I Need An Immigration Lawyer To Apply For Lawful Permanent Residence By Marriage?

Now that you know what happens if you divorce before a Green Card interview you can decide your next step. An immigration law expert can assist you throughout your entire process and with extensive knowledge of the facts surrounding your case.

Our immigration attorneys can help you evaluate your immigration options and determine if you qualify for a visa or adjustment of status.

If you need help removing conditions from your conditional residence due to marriage or divorce, please do not hesitate to contact us. At Lluis Law we are prepared to help you achieve your immigration goals.


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